O God, do not remain quiet; Do not be silent and, O God, do not be still. Psalm 83:1
The silence of God is deafening in it’s stillness.
One of the hardest things I experience as a Christian, is not hearing from God.
I pray, I wait, nothing.
No word or sign – I can’t feel His Presence.
I must be doing something wrong – this time I crossed the line – God has turned away.
I review my life, apologize and repent. In desperation, I pray “Lord, if you will just show me, I’ll do whatever you ask.”
I feel like a fraud, a hypocrite, a failure. How can I write words of hope when it feels like God has shut the door?
I can’t do any of this without Him.
In His grace and mercy, He lead me to the private (now published) letters of Mother Theresa.
Publicly she proclaimed her heart belonged “entirely to the heart of Jesus” but letters written to Reverend Michael Van Der Peet, a confidant, in 1979 revealed something else.
“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear. The tongue moves in prayer but does not speak.”
This was written just a few weeks before she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
“Lord, my God, you have thrown me away as unwanted – unloved. I call, I cling, I want and there is no one to answer, no one, no one. Alone. Where is my faith? Even deep down right in there is nothing. I have no faith. I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd my heart.”
Mother Theresa experienced 40 years of silence. She never wanted her letters made public, fearful of the impact they might have.
After reading her letters, her life impacts me more.
Her love for God was so great, she sacrificed herself, her life, serving in silence.
My relationship is definitely imperfect, yet God in His goodness shows me things in His Word and reveals things to me in various ways.
Recently I experienced what felt like deafening silence.
“God…are you there?”
“Do you hear me?”
“What did I do?” (as I review the many things that don’t honor Him)
I felt alone, cast aside, lost.
I question my salvation.
I’m not sure why I experienced silence but I learned some things.
The Christian life is lived in the space of now and not yet.
It’s what I do while I’m waiting that reveal the cracks. When God isn’t doing what I hope for in the timing I so desperately need, do I dig deeper, read His Word? Pray? Or do I pull away, become embittered and decide this whole Christian thing isn’t what I signed up for.
God cannot lie. He cannot lie and He promises in His Word He will never leave us.
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave or forsake you. Joshua 1:5
There are many places in scripture where He promises to never leave or forsake His children. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Even in silence, I can trust His promises.
Silence does not mean God is not at work.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
There is purpose in silence. God is always working on my behalf – even when I’m unaware or life is heartbreakingly hard. He uses the uncertainty and what I do with the silence for my good – my eternal good.
Silence is an invitation to come closer.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
I’ve come to believe silence from God is part of every Believer’s journey. It’s a “rubber meets the road” moment where what I believe gets squeezed to the top.
What do I do with the silence?
Decide God’s abandoned me and go my own way?
Or stay the course, dig deeper and rest in His promises.
Usually, it’s a messy combination of both – a wavy, staggering path.
He doesn’t demand perfection.
He blesses my progress.
It’s up to me what I choose – growth or groaning – usually both.
God is big enough to handle my questions, failures and unbelief – all within the sound of silence.